I assume by now that those of you who are reading my blog realise that we’ve actually been home for ten days – but I really, really want to get all of our holiday recorded! So please bear with me.
We didn’t want our last day in Kota Kinabalu to be too rushed – after all, this was a holiday! So it was another fairly late sleep in, then we caught a Grab to a little museum, Chanteek Borneo Indigenous Museum. I’d come across this little museum in a rather convoluted way – when we did the walking tour of Kota Kinabalu, I chatted to one of the other participants, who was a local man. As it turned out, his wife likes to sew, and is on Instagram. I of course looked her up – you can find her as @kuaitahir – and she sews and sells beautiful handbags, made from fabrics printed in traditional designs. And some of those fabrics are by Kain Chanteek (@kain.chanteek on Instagram) who are closely linked to the Chanteek Borneo Indigenous Museum. Phew! Thanks social media for leading me to a fun place to visit!
The museum contains over 300 Barbie-type dolls, all dressed in different indigenous costumes, arranged in dioramas to depict the lives of the different tribes in the past. It sounds as though it could all be a bit twee – but it’s really not! The exhibits are beautifully put together and are incredibly detailed. Each comes with a QR code that you can scan to get more information about the specific object or scene. A huge amount of effort has gone into the museum. And the fun thing – they also offered the chance to dress up in costumes from a variety of tribes.
We then sent the girls on the task to find the tribe their costume belonged too. This was more difficult than you would think!
The belts that each of the girls had around their waists were very heavy – they were essentially wearing their wealth, or dowries.
The exhibition also contained plenty of life sized objects from indigenous communities, with explanations of their use.
To make it even more fun, the girls and I did a little beading class, and each made a small bracelet. It took us about an hour to make each one; I have even more respect for those who make complex beaded items. It’s painstaking, time-consuming work.
We actually spent a number of hours at the museum. Remember that I said we’ve travelled by Grab about 50 minutes to get there? Getting back to KK was not so simple – there were no Grabs available in the area! Fortunately the museum staff then got on their phones and did some ringing around, and located another rideshare driver friend of a friend who would be happy to take us. Phew! He eventually dropped us back at Imago Mall, where we bought some highly indulgent afternoon tea. Starbucks (of all places) had been on Stella’s wishlist of places to visit, so we ticked that box, along with donuts from another shop that had been tempting Stella constantly.
Dinner that night was back at Madam Kwan’s. Then it was time to ensure that we’d packed absolutely everything before going to bed. There was an 8.40am international flight to Brunei to catch the next day.